In news that will likely prompt at least one tweet from Donald Trump, a State department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server turned up nothing.
That’s not entirely true. According to the results of the probe – released on Friday by Chuck Grassley’s office – more than three-dozen current or former employees committed nearly a hundred security protocol violations, but none of the e-mails were marked ‘classified’.
None of the people were identified. Additionally, the State department found nearly 500 violations that could not be attributed or otherwise blamed on one individual.
Although some former officials described recent interviews and the retroactive classification of certain e-mails as indicative of a pressure campaign orchestrated by the White House, State said they were simply trying to wrap up the review at the request of lawmakers, including Grassley.
Now, it’s over. Although 38 individuals were cited for violating security protocols, the bottom line appears to be this, from investigators:
There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information. [There were] instances of classified information being inappropriately [transmitted but] most were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them.
And so, that would appear to be that.
Those found to have violated protocol are not set to be sanctioned immediately, although they did receive letters notifying them that investigators had assessed them to have been involved in “valid” instances where best practices were not followed.
Some worry that may make it more difficult for them to return to positions in government or have their security clearances renewed, as their files have presumably been updated to include the pseudo-violations. It’s possible that current employees could be subject to disciplinary action, although it’s not clear what that would be.
The report also noted the obvious – namely that Clinton’s use of a private server increased the risk of hacking and made classified information more vulnerable. “The use of a private email system to conduct official business added an increased degree of risk of compromise as a private system lacks the network monitoring and intrusion detection capabilities of State Department networks”, the report says.
Here are the two key passages (the full report is embedded in full below):
The Use of Personal Email to conduct Official Business Represented an Increased Risk of Unauthorized Disclosure It was AP D’s determination that the use of a private email system to conduct official business added an increased degree of risk of compromise as a private system lacks the network monitoring and intrusion detection capabilities of State Department networks. While the use of a private email system itself did not necessarily increase the likelihood of classified information being transmitted on unclassified systems, those incidents which then resulted in the presence of classified information upon it carried an increased risk of compromise or inadvertent disclosure.
APD Uncovered No Persuasive Evidence of Systemic Misuse Relative to the Deliberate Introduction of Classified Information to Unclassified Systems While there were some instances of classified information being inappropriately introduced into an unclassified system in furtherance of expedience, by and large, ‘the individuals interviewed were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them in their operations. Correspondence with the Secretary is inherently sensitive, and is therefore open for broad interpretation as to classification, particularly with respect to Foreign Government Information. Instances of classified information being deliberately transmitted via unclassified email were the rare exception and resulted in adjudicated security violations. There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.